FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
“The time for consulting and planning is over—it’s time to take action on seniors’ care,” says Fontaine
Abbotsford, B.C. (June 20, 2019): In a presentation made today to the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services, BC Care Providers Association (BCCPA) is calling upon the B.C. government to make major investments in seniors’ care in its 2020 budget. The Association’s presentation to the Standing Committee was followed by the release of a report, A 2020 Vision for Seniors’ Care.
“Our message to the Standing Committee today is that we have run out of time and need to take action on investing new resources now,” says BCCPA CEO Daniel Fontaine. “We have an aging population and the projected demand for long-term care, assisted living and home care over the next two decades is off the charts.
“Our 2020 Vision for Seniors’ Care document is a roadmap for policy-makers that if put into action would demonstrate the provincial government’s commitment toward supporting the care and housing needs of B.C. seniors.”
According to Statistics Canada, in just over 15 years one-in-four Canadians will be aged 65 or older, and the number of seniors over 80 will have doubled since 2011. With the Baby Boomer Generation now reaching retirement age, demand for long-term care in B.C. is expected to spike in the next two decades, with a projected need of up to 45,000 net new long-term care beds by 2041/42.
“Government, policy makers and seniors’ care providers all have a role to play in addressing the complex needs of an aging population,” says Fontaine. “It all starts with this Select Standing Committee using their influence over the budgeting process to convince the Minister of Finance that care and housing can be there for seniors if appropriate resources are provided.”
BCCPA’s 2020 Budget Submission makes four key recommendations for strengthening seniors’ care:
- Improving access to care by building 5,000 new long-term care beds and 1,000 assisted living suites over three years, as well as developing a 10-year plan to renovate and replace care homes which are nearing the end of their optimal use, with a focus on dementia-friendly design. It is estimated that this will cost $1.9 billion over three years.
- Provide support for and expand the Seniors Safety and Quality Improvement Program through a $20 million-dollar grant over three years. These funds would allow for the continuation of the program that provides contracted care home operators with access to funding which could be used to purchase any new equipment intended to improve safety and quality of life for care home residents. The program would be expanded to include seniors in assisted living residences.
- Take immediate action on the health human resource crisis by allocating $35.5 million to:
- Improve young people’s access to health care education by expanding dual credit programs for health care assistants and licensed practical nurses.
- Create 450 new training spaces for health care assistants outside of the Lower Mainland.
- Eliminate controversial Nursing Community Assessment Service (NCAS) fees and provide travel bursaries for qualified health care assistants.
- Establish satellite NCAS testing centers on Vancouver Island and in the Interior.
- Allocate $25 million per year to establish a new Seniors Quality of Life Fund as part of the implementation of a province-wide Seniors Quality of Life Framework. This would help to run targeted, province-wide initiatives focused on improving quality of life for seniors receiving care in care homes and in the community.
“The 2020 Budget Submission highlights the shorter-term investments which are necessary to strengthen the services people rely on today, and also continues to bring attention to what needs to be done to prepare for future cohorts of seniors,” says Fontaine.
“Of course, none of this is possible without qualified workers. We must invest in skills training and applying innovative solutions to better meet the demands of B.C.’s labour market.”
A full copy of BCCPA’s 2020 Budget Submission is available at www.bccare.ca.
Read the remarks made by CEO Daniel Fontaine to the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services here.
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About BC Care Providers Association
Established in 1977, the BC Care Providers Association (BCCPA) is the leading voice for B.C.’s continuing care sector. Our growing membership base includes over 340 long-term care, assisted living, home care, home support, independent living, and commercial members from across British Columbia.